Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Stone Walls "Snaking"

    I was reading yet another article about New England’s Stone walls:
Stone walls in Block Island, Rhode Island, c. 1880. BLOCK ISLAND HISTORICAL SOCIETY, PRINTED BY ROBERT DOWNIE

“WALK INTO A PATCH OF forest in New England, and chances are you will—almost literally—stumble across a stone wall. Thigh-high, perhaps, it is cobbled together with stones of various shapes and sizes, with splotches of lichen and spongy moss instead of mortar. Most of the stones are what are called “two-handers”—light enough to lift, but not with just one hand. The wall winds down a hill and out of sight. According to Robert Thorson, a landscape geologist at University of Connecticut, these walls are “damn near everywhere” in the forests of rural New England. He estimates that there are more than 100,000 miles of old, disused stone walls out there, or enough to circle the globe four times.”
     The author of the article pauses and asks “Who would build a stone wall, let alone hundreds of thousands of miles of them, in the middle of the forest?”
    And then there follows a bunch of the usual stuff, about Colonial farms and pastures and then Post-Colonial farms and pastures and finally abandoned farms and pastures.

     I’m disappointed to find that the photo above isn’t the place described here:
    “Every year he takes his students to a maple-beech forest stand in Storrs, Connecticut, which he calls “The Glen,” to look at a classic farmstead stone wall. This wall is thigh-high, and mostly built of gneiss and schist, metamorphic rocks common in the valley flanks of central New England. With Thorson’s help, one begins to see a little structure in how the stones were stacked—in messy tiers, by a farmer who added one load at a time.”
    With a little cut and paste help, I can, in this photo, begin to show the “structure in how the stones were stacked” – “tiers” that resemble the head and body of a snake, by an Indigenous “farmer’ of another kind at some unknown point in time in that other 97% of the time humans inhabited this corner of Turtle Island:

     And here I find I agree with Thorson:
     “Stone walls are the most important artifacts in rural New England,” Thorson says. “They’re a visceral connection to the past. They are just as surely a remnant of a former civilization as a ruin in the Amazon rain forest.”
      Especially if those stone walls begin with a Snake Head, in a place where for thousands of years Indigenous Peoples used fire to shape a Cultural Landscape, a Ceremonial Stone Landscape...

Snaking Stone Walls:

"Stone walls, property lines dating all the way back to the 18th century, can be found snaking through these woods..."  http://www.donnaheber.com/2014/09/
Harpswell, Maine. New England’s stone walls snake over hundreds of thousands of miles.
 Photo: Paul VanDerWerf under Creative Commons

  Used at: https://sidewalkbabble.com/2017/04/22/urban-archaeology-vancouvers-ancient-tree-stumps-with-faces-new-englands-stone-walls-tell-stories/

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